2003 Haryana Teacher Recruitment Scam: OP Chautala Approaches Delhi HC Again For Premature Release
Former Haryana Chief Minister OP Chautala, now aged 84 years, has once again approached the Delhi High Court for premature release after the Delhi government rejected his plea for release on the grounds of seniority and disability.
A bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal heard Chautala's plea against the decision of the government dated April 3 vide which his representation of premature release in light of the Centre's Special Remission Notification was turned down.
Prior to this, Chautala had moved the court in February when a division bench had directed the Delhi government to decide his plea for release from Tihar Jail, where he is undergoing 10-year imprisonment for his involvement in the 2003 Haryana junior teacher recruitment scam.
It is to be noted that the July 2018 notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs speaks of categories of prisoners who will be considered for special remission and includes Male convicts of 60 years of age and above, who have completed 50% of their actual sentence period, women and transgender convicts of 55 years and above who have completed 50% of their sentence, Physically challenged convicts with 70 per cent disability and terminally ill convicts.
Pursuant to this notification, the state governments were to form a committee to examine all cases and recommend the same to the Governor for his approval. After the approval, the prisoners were to be released on October 2, 2018, April 10, 2019, and October 2, 2019.
Chautala had claimed that the Delhi government was not considering his plea for premature release due to its hostile attitude and had moved the high court which had then directed the government to decide the same in four weeks.
Following this, a representation was made to the government which ended up in rejection.
His counsel senior advocate Hariharan and Amit Sahni submitted that the government erred in rejecting his plea while reiterating that he suffers from 60% permanent disability, which is progressive in nature and which has gone up to 70%.
While the Delhi government contended that since he is convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act, benefit of special remission notification cannot be extended to him, Sahni argued that Chautala was convicted for 7 years under Section 13(2) of the PC Act and for 10 years under Sections 120B r/w 418/467/471 IPC r/w 13(2) of the PC Act and his unexpired portion of sentence is about 2 years and 1 month (out of total 10 years of incarceration) under the IPC and can be considered for premature release.
Chautala, along with his sons, was sentenced to 10-year jail term by a Special CBI court in the year 2013 after they were found guilty in the scam.